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Great Australian Speeches brings together a diverse and often moving collection of more than 40 speeches ranging from colonial times to the present day. Some have resonated with power enough to shape the nation; others encapsulate the best … and worst … of the Australian character. This selection proves that stirring oratory is not simply the preserve of politicians and military figures. Bushranger Ned Kelly makes a speech within a speech as his death sentence is passed, interrupting the address of Judge Barry with words of defiance. Also featured are singer Nellie Melba's farewell speech (the irony of which neither speaker nor listeners appreciated at the time); Miles Franklin's tribute to Henry Lawson 'who gave us this kingdom as our own'; and Richie Benaud's moving eulogy to cricketing legend Donald Bradman. Iconic political speeches include Governor Phillip's message to the First Fleet on landing at Sydney Cove; the opening address of the Federal parliament by MP William Groom, ex-convict; Robert Menzies' 'Forgotten People' speech of 1942; Mick Dodson's 'Stolen Generation' protest of 1997; the 'dismissal' declarations of Gough Whitlam and Governor General John Kerr; and Kevin Rudd's statesmanlike 'Sorry …' speech of 2008.
- Allen & Unwin, September 2009
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